US-UK Immigration Seminar - Tuesday 20 June

B&A Immigration is pleased to announce that we are teaming up with RadcliffesLeBrasseur to bring you a seminar on UK and US immigration issues on:

 - Current UK immigration situation and outlook, following the General Election

- US Immigration changes in the Trump era

- Personal immigration issues including spouse, family and EEA members

- Work visas and employment in the UK and US

- Issues for high net worth individuals

Our speakers include Jarmila Entezari (Solicitor, RadcliffesLeBrasseur), Lara Keenan (Partner and Solicitor, RadcliffesLeBrasseur), Kelly Brackley (Partner and Attorney, B&A Immigration), and Mackie B. Adoniadis  (Partner and Attorney, B&A Immigration).

Event details

Date: Tuesday 20 June

Times

9.15 am - Registration and breakfast  

10.00 am - Seminar starts

12:00 pm - Close with light lunch and networking

Venue: RadcliffesLeBrasseur, 85 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1AE

Directions: www.rlb-law.com/contact

To book your place or find out more, please contact the RLB events team by emailing events@rlb-law.com

 

 

 

A New Standard for National Interest Waivers : An Entrepreneur's Benefit

What is a National Interest Waiver? 

Under the second preference of employment-based immigrant visa category, a NIW is a waiver of the job offer requirement - and therefore the labor certification - because it is in the "national interest". The waiver is only available for professionals with an advanced degree (such as an Engineer with a masters degree) or those with an exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or businessThis would allow an entrepreneur to self petition under the second preference category. 

The New Standard: Matter of Dhanasar 

On December 27, 2016, the AAO issued Matter of Dhanasar which should make it easier for entrepreneurs to qualify for the National Interest Waiver, though its effectiveness will be determined by whether USCIS adjudicators interpret the new standard as intended. The decision overturns a 1998 decision (NYSDOT), and has three parts: 

1) The “foreign national’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance”; 

2) The “foreign national is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor”; and 

3) The United States would benefit “on balance” if the job offer and permanent labor certification requirements are waived. 

If these requirements are met, USCIS may approve the NIW as a matter of discretion. 

The new standard notes that a petitioner's intended work can be in the national interest even when it is limited to a certain geographic location (prong one). Under prong two, it examines the "potential prospective impact" of the foreign national's intended work – as opposed to limiting the consideration primarily to the past achievements as a measure of future benefits often previously used.  The decision recognizes that many endeavors and entrepreneurial pursuits may ultimately fail, "despite an intelligent plan and competent execution". Dhanasar directly rejects that a foreign national must prove they are more likely than not to succeed.  

The new third prong also removes the need for a showing of harm to the national interest if the petitioner is not granted a waiver, or a comparison of US workers in the petitioner's field. This makes the waiver standard much friendlier to entrepreneurs and the self-employed. 

Other Options for Entrepreneurs 

The National Interest Waiver option may benefit entrepreneurs more so than it had done in the past. But what if it does not seem right for you? Many entrepreneurs enter the United States through nonimmigrant E or L-1A visa categories or the EB-5 investor immigrant program. Recent proposals to the EB-5 program mean that the investment minimums are likely set to rise this year, creating a further financial barrier to prospective EB-5 clients. 

USCIS also recently finalised the Entrepreneur Parole Program, though the rule puts many limitations (including funding restrictions) on the entrepreneur.  

 

If you would like to speak to an experienced US Immigration Lawyer about a National Interest Waiver or other entrepreneur visa options, please email us on info@baimmigrationlaw.com. 

 

USCIS Proposes Changes in EB-5 Program, including Increase in Investment Minimums

In a proposed rule published on 13 January 2017, USCIS / DHS moves to alter and modernize the EB-5 program for immigrant investors. The program allows individuals who are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States if they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create or, in certain circumstances, preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. USCIS is accepting feedback from all interested parties until 11 April 2017. The key areas which are proposed to change or codify existing practices are below.

Increase to the Minimum Investment Amount (for TEAs and nonTEAs) 

Currently, the investment minimum for Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) is $500,000 and $1,000,000 for non-TEAs. USCIS proposes to increase these significantly - for TEAs, to $1.35 million, and for non-TEAs to $1.8 million. These changes represent an adjustment for inflation from 1990 to 2015.  In addition, DHS is proposing to make regular Consumer Price Index – for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) - based adjustments in the standard minimum investment amount, and conforming adjustments to the TEA minimum investment amount every 5 years.

Revisions to the TEA designation process

DHS proposes to take over the TEA designation process, away from the current process in which a state may designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as high unemployment areas. Under the rule, any city or town with high unemployment and a population of 20,000 or more would qualify as a TEA.

Priority date retention for EB–5 petitioners

In a positive move, the rule would allow for EB-5 petitioners to  authorize certain EB–5 petitioners to retain the priority date of an approved EB–5 immigrant petition for use in connection with any subsequent EB–5 immigrant petition. A priority date represents an immigrant's 'place in the queue' which will remain important as DHS believes the program will continue to be oversubscribed.

What Happens Now

The current re-authorization of the EB-5 program is set to expire on 28 April 2017. The new rule is a proposal only, so it will not become law until USCIS/DHS receives feedback from the public and eventually issues a final regulation. 

To speak with an experienced US Immigration Lawyer about the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, please email info@baimmigrationlaw.com or call us on  +44 (0)203  102 7966

 

USCIS Drafts New Rule for Entrepreneurs

On August 26, 2016, USCIS announced that it would be proposing a draft rule  which would implement the Secretary of Homeland's discretionary parole authority to increase and enhance entrepreneurship, innovation, and job creation in the United States. The use of parole would be on a case-by-case basis with respect to entrepreneurs of start-up entities whose entrance into the US would provide significant public benefit through the substantial and demonstrated potential for rapid business growth and job creation. It was announced that the potential would be indicated (amongst other things) by:

- the receipt of significant capital investment from US investors with established records of successful investments, or

- obtaining significant awards or grants from certain Federal, State or local government entities.  

Parole would be initially granted for a stay of 2 years and may be extended by up to 3 years. This would be to facilitate the applicant's ability to oversee and grow his or her start-up. To be granted parole again, it is announced that the entrepreneur would show his or her start-up continues to provide a significant public benefit as evidenced by:

- substantial increases in capital investment,

- revenue, or

- job creation. 

The drafted rule should be available in the Federal Register this week and will be open for comments for 45 days. 

 

Until new pathways for entrepreneurs are available, what are your options?  

For our entrepreneurial clients, we typically look at E-2 treaty investor visas, L-1 intracompany transfer visas, and EB-5 investor green cards. For more information on these, please email info@baimmigrationlaw.com or call +44 (0)1296 709 926 to speak with one of our qualified US Immigration Lawyers.

Buying a Franchise in the United States : Questions and Answers from a Company Broker

Today we have a guest blogger, Patrick Findaro, of Visa Franchise LLC answer our questions about the process of using a Broker to purchase a franchise in the United States. 

1. As a Broker, how do you help people who want to move to the US?

There are over 5,000 franchise brands and 700,000+ locations throughout the United States. It can be a daunting task to select the best franchise opportunity without an advisor.

At Visa Franchise, we provide assistance navigating the investment immigration process every step of the way alongside the immigration attorney. Through our client on-boarding procedure, we match your skill set, desired location and investment size to secure the best franchise opportunity.

2. Can you list the steps for us in finding a business to buy?

Although we work with new and existing franchises, we prefer new franchises for our E-2, L-1 and EB-5 direct clients. The investor will skip the negotiation process with multiple sellers and lengthy due diligence process. For more information on the pros and cons of new or existing franchises click here.

Steps for Finding and Investing in a New Franchise

1. Franchise consultation with Visa Franchise

2. Contract Visa Franchise for franchise search ($1,000)

3. Personal skill analysis

4. Franchise Search (3-4 weeks)

5. Franchise Selection

a. Introduction to select franchisors

b. Discovery day with franchisor(s)

c. Conversations with existing franchisees

d. Business due diligence

6. E-2/ L-1/ EB-5 Visa Business Plan (~$2,000 for E-2)

7. Deal Finalization

The complete process varies but takes between 2-3 months. After the franchise is purchased and investor visa issued, the client works with the franchisor for site selection, training, etc.

3. Which factors can make a business more or less worthy of your attention?

First, we like to study the industry of the franchise and growth prospects. Industries in franchising that are expected to continue to experience rapid growth for the coming years are largely in the service-related fields such as:

* Fitness

* Healthcare/Senior Care

* Education

* Pet Care

* Cleaning Services

There are many opportunities across specific sub-segments of industries like quick service restaurants.

As we analyze the particular opportunity these are some of factors we consider:

* Who the franchisor is, what its track record has been, and the business experience of its officers and directors

* How other franchisees in the same system are doing

* How much it's going to cost to get into the franchise

* How much you're going to pay for the continuing right to operate the business

* If there are any products or services you must buy from the franchisor and how and by whom they are supplied

* The hours and personal commitment necessary to run the business

* The financial condition of the franchisor and its system

4. How may a Broker and an Immigration Lawyer work well as a team to improve the experience for clients?

We find the when the Broker and Immigration Lawyer have clearly defined roles on serving the clients, the clients are impressed and satisfied with the service. Visa Franchise role is to act as the business advisor and provide on the ground support with local accountants and other trusted advisors. We also handle the business plan with experience professionals and the franchisor.

The immigration attorney is responsible for everything related to the visa petition and working with the client from an immigration prospective.

We work hand in hand with the attorney on verifying business opportunities that qualify for the E-2, L-1 or EB-5 visa.

When both parties respond promptly to our mutual clients, provide top quality service, and adhere to their defined roles, clients feel secure with the process and recommend friends and colleagues following the visa issuance!

5. What do you see as the main challenges for clients in the process?

Often times, our clients are not currently residing in the U.S. and communication issues can arise if not everyone is organized. Technology like Whatsapp and Skype ease the strains to a certain degree.

Most of the client challenges we see are internal. We have clients where one of the spouses is not 100% convinced on moving to the U.S. In other instances, the family is not sure where in the United States they would like to move or how much involvement they would like in the business from a day-to-day standpoint.

It is encouraged for the immigrant investor to arrange a U.S. trip to visit the prospective business opportunities and meet with local advisors.

For more information on Visa Franchise, visit their site, www.visafranchise.com or contact via email at info@visafranchise.com or phone +1-305-454-7744.

New Year, New You : Get Started on your Visa Application or Petition the Right Way

With all of the new years resolutions out there right now, who needs one more tick on their to-do list? The gyms are packed, the fridge is filled with healthy foods, and the bedside table is stacked with books that you will finish this year.

One of the best resolutions is to get a start on your US immigration petition or application. In order to do this, we urge potential clients to speak with an Immigration Lawyer in order to aide them in understanding the process and timeline. Sometimes our most independent clients wish that they had spoken with us before beginning the planning - an hour long consultation can make all of the difference in how to set up your plan for accomplishing a major feat in 2016 : a successful move to the United States.

In order to speak with an experienced US Immigration Lawyer about booking a consultation, please call us on +44(0)203 102 7966 or email us at info@baimmigrationlaw.com.